We previously provided an update on legislation in Washington state that proposed banning cosmetics that contained PFAS in the state. Washington’s PFAS ban on cosmetics received considerable attention and passed in the state Senate, but failed to get out of the House before the state updated its legislative period on March 11, 2022. That doesn’t mean the end of the day. proposed ban in Washington; however, the bill will now be sent back to the Senate for consideration in committee once the legislative session resumes. However, Washington’s proposed PFAS ban on cosmetics is just the latest in the bans to ban products containing wide-ranging PFASs that are increasing across the country. It is imperative that companies in any part of the cosmetics production or supply chain immediately assess the impact of the proposed PFAS ban for cosmetics on business practices and make decisions about the continued use of PFAS in products, rather than replacing others. substances. At the same time, companies affected by PFAS legislation need to be aware that invoices pose risks to companies’ involvement in PFAS litigation both in the short and long term.
Washington’s PFAS ban proposal for cosmetics
In 2021, the state of Washington introduced a bill (SB 5703) in its state Senate that sought to ban all PFAS from cosmetics sold in the state. In its intentions, the bill mirrors a California bill (Assembly Bill 2771) as it seeks to ban all types of PFAS from cosmetic products sold within the state. Washington’s definition of “cosmetic products” is more detailed than that of California: “(1) articles intended to be scrubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed, introduced or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof to cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness or altering appearance and (2) items intended to be used as components of such items; unless that term will not include soap. Similar to California, the ban will take effect January 1, 2025.
The California bill is still actively discussed in the state legislature.
Impact of the proposed PFAS ban on businesses
While other states have introduced and / or passed legislation banning a small subset of PFAS in cosmetics (Maryland), banned all “intentionally added PFAS” to all consumer products (Maine), or took steps to introduce legislation to ban PFAS in personal care products (six other states fall into this category), the Washington bill was the farthest in the legislative process, so it surprised many that the bill did not come out of the House. While both Washington and California give the cosmetics industry nearly three years to adapt their business practices based on proposed laws, it will still take time and money to do so.
It is of the utmost importance for companies along the entire cosmetics supply chain to assess their PFAS risk. Public health and environmental groups are urging lawmakers to regulate these compounds. One of the main points of contention among members of various sectors is whether to regulate PFAS as a class or as individual compounds. Although each PFAS compound has a unique chemical composition and impacts the environment and the human body in different ways, some groups argue that PFAS should be regulated together as a class because they interact with each other in the body, thus resulting in a collective impact. Other groups argue that the individual compounds are too diverse and that regulating them as a class would be overly restrictive for some chemicals and not enough for others.
Businesses should stay informed so they are not caught off guard. States are approving more and more PFAS product invoices that differ in scope. For all manufacturers, especially those selling interstate goods, it is important to understand how these various standards will impact them, regardless of whether PFAS are regulated as an individual compound or as a class. Performing regular self-audits for possible PFAS risk exposure and potential regulatory violations can result in long-term savings for companies and should be commonplace in their risk assessment.
© 2022 CMBG3 Law, LLC. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, number 75